Today, I am going to talk about how to store seeds long term for your survival garden. Storing seeds should be near the top of your emergency preparedness list, along with knowing how to grow them if SHTF. I spoke about having seeds for a solar flare in my last article. Finding the best seeds for your garden is crucial and you need to choose what seeds to store based on your climate.
Seeds can last for a very long time provided they are stored properly, which means keeping them away from moisture and heat. When storing seeds for the long term, these are the two main factors that will make them go bad. The important thing is that when storing seeds in a cool place is, they are kept away from moisture, which is quite hard unless you do it properly.
How to Store Seeds Long Term
Many people think that storing seeds in the refrigerator is the best way to store seeds long term, this isn’t really the case. Yes, you can store seeds in the fridge, but, the problem you will face is that they will be exposed to moisture if you store them in the paper bag you buy them in. This happens when you open the fridge door, and the moisture from the room enters the fridge, and then seeps through the paper bags seeds come in.
Something that most people don’t know, is moisture can also make its way through plastic containers over time, so, if you want to know how to store seeds long term, don’t even think about using plastic containers.
The best way to store seeds is in glass jars that are fully air tight, in a cool, dark place, so that can be in the fridge, in a cupboard which is alway cool, or anywhere else you can think of. .
Moisture cannot seep through glass, so, once you have the seeds dried out (I explain this below), they can remain good in a glass jar for many years. Large seeds will keep for as long as 50 years, maybe even longer, but smaller seeds, such as barley, wheat, peas… may only remain good for a few years, so it is wise to rotate these seeds.
- Store the seeds below 5°C (Fridge)
- Store in a dark place
- Store in dry environment (Glass jar)
- Rotate every 2 years for small seeds, larger seeds last longer
Drying Out Seeds for Long Term Storage
In order to store seeds long term, you must first dry them out. Doing this is pretty simple, get your hands on some silica gel packets, drop 3 or 4 pouches of gel into your glass storage jar, then put the seeds in with them.
Silica gel will remove the moisture from the air in the jar, and also pull any moisture from the seeds and lock it in the silica gels tight pours. You can reuse the silica gel if you wish, but you must dry it out properly, to do this, place it in an oven at 200 degrees C, for 2-3 hours, in an aluminium can (cut the top off a coke can and use that). The gel will then be dried and can be used again.
Now that you know how to store seeds long term, you may need to test these seeds before planting them. This is easy to do, and doesn’t require any special tools.
- Get some paper towels or newspaper
- Wet it with water
- Place 10 seeds along the paper spaced about an inch apart
- Roll the seeds into the paper
- Set the seeds on a window sill that gets sun light
- Unroll the paper after 5-6 days, and check to see if any have germinated
If you find that 6 seeds have germinated, and 4 have not, you have a 60% germination rate, meaning when you are planting your seeds, you will need to plant 40% more seeds to make up for any that do not germinate.